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The world's worst jobs: Tanner

A tanner is a craftsman whose primary job was to process the skins, and animal hides so they could be used for clothing. It is one of the world's oldest profession, and there are egyptian depictions of garvehåndværket, which is more than 3000 years old. In addition to its ancient craftsmanship of the ancestors it is also one of history's more smelly fag!



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Garveren melted first skins with different salts, urine or the like to remove the hair, fat and other unwanted elements. Then garvedes the skins by means of various substances such as bark, tran, animal manure (typical of dogs or pigeons) or crushed dyrehjerne – according to the type of skindprodukt you desired. Then smidiggjordes the skins with a so-called 'lubrication' with dyrefedt or tran (a typical greenlandic method). And finally a possible staining and distension.

In ancient Greece and in the Roman empire had garveren a high social status, as his products were used in many important military contexts (fol.a. helmets and shields). The entire tanning process resulted in however, significant odors due to the dead animal hides and distinctive tannins, and later on in the story counted the profession as an 'unclean craft', which made the tanneries unpopular.



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In the course of the 1700s moved many tanners, however, are also outside of the inner-city areas or were referred to the special blocks (there are f.ex. a Garvergade in Løgumkloster). Actually considered garverfaget as so smelly that the women, who was married to a tanner, had a special loose the right to divorce, according to ancient Hebrew law. The rule also applied in the later catholic Europe!

Industrialization hit in the mid-1800s, like so many other traditional subjects – also garverfagets ca. 300 tanneries in Denmark.



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Suddenly, a skins garves in just one day through a probably quite unhealthy garvemetode with the roasting can all create chrome. In the 1930s, was a profession reduced to only train ten apprentices per year. In 2004, closed the last Danish tannery. A development that has been the hallmark of the profession in most of the western world.

you Will today experience a traditional tannery, there are several places in north Africa, where the tanning process has been unchanged for millennia. Particularly in the city of Fez, Morocco, you can visit more colourful and ancient tanneries. Remember, however, to take a deep breath first!



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